It was a warm October evening in Lawrence, Kansas and Lettuce brought the heat accordingly. Made up by Adam Deitch on drums, Eric Cooms on bass, Adam Smirnoff on guitar, Nigel Hall on keyboard, Ryan Zoidis on Saxophone and Eric Bloom on trumpet, Lettuce is on a national tour promoting their new album Crush. Lettuce’s members all met at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1992 and have been playing music together as a group ever since.
They played several tracks from their upcoming album throughout the evening along with some older material and a bust out cover. For a Wednesday night at Liberty Hall, the venue was surprisingly packed and the crowd was ready to get funked. The set started with very high energy and Lettuce held nothing back from the get go. Lettuce has a sound that is very reminiscent of the glory days of funk. Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, The Meters and 90’s hip-hop are huge influences on Lettuce’s sound and songwriting. Adam Deitch’s break beats and fills were very noticeable from the start of the show and he really was the driving force behind this powerful juggernaut. He helped keep the crowd moving with his heavy hits and great feel for being in the pocket with the bass player.
“The Dump” was one of the highlights early on in the set. From their 2002 album Out Here, “The Dump” has a melodic horn line over the deep driven bass that just forces you to nod your head along to the beat. The band went into a harmonic minor jam before settling in on a massive bust out of “Slippin’ Into Darkness” by War. The harmonic minor jam had an Egyptian feel that guitarist Adam Smirnoff continued for a few minutes before seamlessly transitioning into the reggae feel of “Slippin’ into Darkness”. Heavy horn lines from the trumpet and saxophone players filled the room and gave the cover true justice.
Towards the end of the set, keyboardist Nigel Hall really started to shine. He came out to center stage to sing a rendition of his tune “Do It Like You Do”. His high-energy singing really got the crowd going as he let out James Brown-like shrieks. His organ swells and clavinet playing throughout the evening were particularly impressive as well. For the encore, Lettuce finished off the night with the song they have released on their SoundCloud from their new album. The track is called “Phyllis” and it features heavy reverb and delay on the guitar. Adam Deitch then fights the rhythm of the guitar with a polyrhythm that fights to build tension and then matches up perfectly for a huge release.
The use of tension and release was perfect for the encore slot to the evening. All in all, it was a great night filled with nonstop, high octane funk that makes you want to dance or bob your head all night long. Lettuce is a band you will definitely want to check out next time they come to town.
Slippin’ Into Darkness
Sounds Like A Party
By Any Shmeeans
Do It Like You Do